Need simple weatherproofing ideas for winter!

Discussion in 'Energy & Electricity' started by OldFashionedMama, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    216
    0
    I really want to do some weatherproofing on our house this year, but I want to make sure I only do things that will really make a significant difference. Money is limited, especially since I need to have the furnace inspected and cleaned, along with the chimney. Here's what I plan to do so far:

    Caulk the windows-inside and out.
    Install new draft stoppers on the exterior doors.
    Seal the really bad windows with the plastic stuff.
    Install covers on the hot water heater and hot water pipes.
    Cover the basement windows with cardboard (wanted to get them replaced but it aint happening this year)
    Cover the mail slot on the front door.

    And that's all I've come up with so far. I'd like to get a programmable thermostat, but again money might be an issue. We plan on using both fireplaces this year, and I am hoping that using the basement fireplace will really help keep the house warmer. We only used the upstairs fireplace last year and kept the thermostat at 64F during the daytime and 62F at night. We used a space heater upstairs because the temp will drop well below 60F when we keep the heat that low. (MAJOR insulation problems in this house...)

    What else can I do that isn't terribly expensive? The house needs new insulation, new siding, new windows, new everything really...but it will be a LONG time before those things are addressed. I want to be comfortable, darnit!
     
  2. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    1,799
    7
    Window Quilts did wonders for us. Make your own using whatever fabric you have on hand. Or do what I did, I used actual quilts and thumb tacked them to the wall over the window (could not afford new curtain rods and am terrible at sewing).
     

  3. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    216
    0
    We already have thermal drapes on the windows of most rooms. I still need them in my boys' room, but their room stays warm so I haven't really felt the need to get them-besides those two always complain about being too hot and kick their blankets off at night, so I don't think they are too cold... I might try that for the basement windows though...

    Thinking of the basement...we get an awful lot of cold air that comes down through the dryer vent. I hate having to pull a pair of frozen pants out of the dryer in the morning. Is there any way to stop that air from getting in?
     
  4. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    Does your dryer vent have a flap on the outside to keep wind (and critters) out?

    When you caulk your windows, you can take it one step further. There's a caulk available to seal things temporarily (e.g. for the winter). When you don't want it anymore, you just pull it off and it comes off in the long strip, leaving no residue or other indication it was even there. Basically, it's like that rubbery stuff that they use to affix credit cards to the letter when they mail them to you. I use it to better seal windows and doors I don't plan on using in the winter. I just run a bead between the opening door/window and the frame.
    The products you would be looking for are:
    DAP - Seal 'n Peal
    3M - Windjammer

    For your fireplace, do you have a glass door and/or blowers? A woodstove by itself is very inefficient. It draws your warm out of the house and sends it up the chimney. Once your fire is about out, you still need to keep the damper open due to smoke but it's giving you the same air loss as keeping a window partially opened. A glass door would help. It may not be pretty, but do you have a way to get exterior air through some duct to the woodstove? As it stands now, the fire is burning up your interior, warm air and sending it up the chimney. If you could provide it a source of air from the outside, it could use that instead. Ideally, an airtight, wood burning fireplace insert would be much better. I slid one into one of my fireplaces and run it 24/7 through the winter. Mine keeps the house (over 3000 sq/ft) at least in the 70's and the furnace won't kick on until the temp gets into the low 20's outside.

    In your basement, is there insulation between your floor joists where the joists meet the exterior wall? That's a commonly overlooked area for insulation but makes a big difference.

    Instead of cardboard on the basement windows, consider using the 1" foam board. It'll give you a much better R factor and can easily be used from year-to-year.

    I have, but don't like a programmable thermostat. It actually seems to take more energy to raise the temp then it would have just to leave it at a constant.

    Slippers and fleece sweaters are obviously your friends... :)
     
  5. backlash

    backlash Well-Known Member

    1,196
    338
    Running a space heater may cost more than running your furnace.
    My wife used one until she got the first electric bill.
    Almost twice as much as it was without the heater.
    It went in the trash that day.
    Most fireplaces are a big heat elimination source if they are not being used.
    They suck the warm air out of the house.
    Be sure it is closed off when not in use.
     
  6. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    8,000
    10
    For the basement windows, I will agree with bczoom and say that the foam-board is a much better choice to keep the cold out and the heat in. You can find it in many home-improvement places (Lowes, HomeDepot, etc) and it is cheap.

    For the upstairs windows, caulk them so that there isn't any air-flow but keep them "open" so that the day-time sunshine can do its job and warm up the inside of the house. When it starts to get dark out, close the heavy "insulating" curtains to help keep the heat inside and the cold outside.

    Space heaters are only good for short-bursts of heat in specific areas. Think of using one in the bathroom when you are having a shower, but, do not run it any longer than what you spend in there (drying time). It will help to "burn off" moisture from the shower and keep the room from molding. The main furnace set at 68° to 72° all day / all night will use less fuel to keep the house warm than using a programmable to heat up the house after its been cold all day with no-one inside the place.
     
  7. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    PS on that removable caulking I was talking about. Just so you're aware, once it's there, you can't open that door/window without removing most, if not all of it. Being like caulk, it does bond it together. Just wanted to point that out for your safety (e.g. how to get out in case of fire).
     
  8. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    980
    20
    Winter? What's that? We don't have that down here. We spend Christmas day at the beach.

    The only white flakes we have falling around here is dandruff.
     
  9. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    Yea, but I can dress for the cold. They have laws about how much I can undress in that heat y'all get down there...

    Besides, what else is your tractor going to do in January?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Wiswash

    Wiswash Active Member

    41
    0
    Sounds like youre living in an old house with old and inefficient fireplaces. Modern fireplaces/woodstoves have sealed glass door and an air intake that allows outdoor air to oxygenate the fire and not use warm indoor air, sending it up your chimney. If you can afford it then some modern fireplace inserts or pellet stoves might be your ticket to warmth.
     
  11. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    Yep. Look at your heating bill and compare to the ROI on a new wood, coal or pellet stove.
    OFM - I live about 40 miles east of you. With my aforementioned wood burner insert, my electric bill doesn't change from summer to winter (and I have an electric furnace).

    EDIT TO ADD: I may be replacing my insert this fall. Want me to keep you in mind as a potential destination for my existing one?
     
  12. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    4,230
    4
    ya'all can keep ME in mind... of course I'm even further southwest into Ohio :lolsmash:
     
  13. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    I'll let y'all arm wrestle over it if it comes down to that. You got a truck to take it home?
     
  14. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    216
    0
    I've considered an insert, but doesn't the chimney have to be fitted with a special liner for that? Don't think I can afford either right now anyway... Will check out the foam for the windows though! Yes our house is old, with old windows and terrible insulation. I can't do much big stuff right now, so I'm focusing on what I CAN do. Even with our regular fireplace, we estimated at least $150 saved every month during the winter months, and if we get that basement one fired up that should help even more.

    I always like to read the Little House books, and I remember reading about Pa banking the outside of the cabin with big piles of leaves. I've got plenty of leaves...just might try it LOL!
     
  15. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    4,288
    88
    If you have the room in your basement, you might want to consider a thermal mass heater , thermal mass rocket heaters are said to be 90 percent efficient
    well worth checking into , Another thing you might want to consider is outside shutters over the windows.
     
  16. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    Nothing special for the one I'm parting with. You don't even need to connect it to the existing chimney. Just slide it in, plug in the blower and you're done. But they did work on making sure it was sealed from the room other than the air intentionally drawn in. That was just a little bit of insulation to control air flow.
     
  17. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    980
    20
    If it gets cold, I'll just snuggle up with my wife. Best way in the world to keep warm. :kiss: :sssh:
     
  18. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    1,799
    7

    Awwww.....
     
  19. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    4,106
    13,758
    Easy for a guy in Florida to say that.

    Up here, it's "get your damn cold feet off of me"
     
  20. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    8,000
    10
    Those are my words exactly!!! Wildmist really has ice-cubes for feet and she thinks that I am supposed to thaw them out ... :eek: